If you thought that you could only access shoulder press machines, stair steppers, push-up presses, rowing apparatus, sit-up benches, and waist twist machines in a gym, you haven’t been to several sites in Johannesburg, Newcastle and Cape Town, in South Africa, where rugged outdoor gym equipment, including hard-wearing non-seizing Vesconite bushings, have been installed.
Jonathan van Biljon, of Lani Service Centre, in Johannesburg, an important manufacturer of outdoor gym equipment, showed Vesconite Bearings around the company’s factory in September and demonstrated how the company is using polymer bushings to good effect in its robust fitness equipment.
Van Biljon’s company started manufacturing gym equipment four years ago, in response to a need from park authorities, truck stops, mining companies and residential estates that were eager to provide gym facilities in a park-like setting.
Various gym equipment designs were rejected, including designs with screw-in bolts, since it was found that scrap-metal-seekers simply unscrewed the bolts and made off with pieces of metal.
Metal bushings and a competitor’s plastic bushings were also rejected, as it was discovered that the gym equipment started to become more difficult to operate and eventually seized in response to corrosion and a lack of joint lubrication.
Lani Service Centre’s solution, developed over time, was to use the polymer Vesconite, which is self-lubricating and will not seize when exposed to the elements.
Another innovation was to inject a small amount of grease on the bushing during assembly, include a pin through the bushing and an outer steel sleeve, include a washer at the end and weld the washer to the exterior metal beam so as to prevent gym component theft.
Van Biljon notes that the market for outdoor gym equipment is considerable both locally and internationally and that there are large international producers of gym equipment.
However, the company has seen considerable interest in its equipment since the poles do not break, and the moving machinery does not seize, unlike many competitors’ products, he says.